To Today’s 14 Year-Old Girls

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Wow, times sure have changed. That’s me in the pictures above. I was a 14 year-old high school freshman just five years ago. Skinny, awkward, innocent, and desperate for social acceptance just about sums up who I was. I had no idea where I was going, but it seemed like the overwhelming roller coaster we call “growing up” started off on a rough path. Of course, I’m only 19 now, so I definitely still have a lot to learn (I will never deny that).  However, over the short amount of time since I was 14 years old, the standards have evolved dramatically among young girls and it has bothered me enough that I feel the need to address it.  Of course, every generation goes through a state of change that the previous generation may disapprove of.. (Has your grandma ever told you that your brand new outfit is ridiculous? So has mine.. P.S. Hey Grams, if you’re reading this, you’re still the bomb). Since 2010, I’ve learned a thing or two about being a teenage girl. Now as a young adult reflecting on the new wave of young people, I’m going to take everything I’ve experienced on my own journey through the early teenage years and be 100% real with you. Yes, this will be a long message, I might offend you, and it’s okay if you may not even relate to this at all. This will be directed as a letter to my younger self and to all of the young girls of today, but as always, feel free to adjust this message to apply to your own life if you’d like. Boy or girl, young or old, LGBTQ or straight, or whatever your personal circumstance may be… This message of strength, courage, and promotion of individuality comes straight from the heart toward anyone who needs a little bit of tough love:

Dear beautiful girl,

When I was your age, I cut my own bangs and chose the colors of the rubber bands on my braces. I called up my best friends on my flip phone and our moms had to confirm our plans. I spent way too much time on my Nintendo DS playing with my NintenDogs (may they forever rest in peace) that sometimes I forgot to do my math homework before I went to bed at 8:30pm. When I was your age, I just entered the world of high school and struggled to find confidence. I shopped in the graphic tee sections of Aeropostale and Hollister and got so excited when I was finally big enough to fit into my very own pair of American Eagle jeans. When I was your age, I thought I knew everything there was to know about fashion and makeup from what Miley Cyrus was sporting on the cover of Seventeen. My mom taught me how to apply eyeliner and I bought my makeup from the dollar store (still do actually…a broke college girl does what she’s gotta do). When I was your age, there was no Snapchat or Vine or “Don’t Judge Me Challenge.” When I was your age, I had never been to my boyfriend’s house because the only time we saw each other was during the school day. When I was your age, I was lost and vulnerable and I had a lot to learn about life. To you, beautiful girl, this may seem like the lifestyle of a child now. Little do you know, this was the normal life of ME, a 14 year-old just five years ago.

Times have changed (as they should!) but there are a few things to keep in mind as you enter this new stage in your life, as you grow from a beautiful girl to a beautiful young woman…

To 14 year-old me and to YOU, the young girls of today:

I hope you don’t spend an hour doing your hair and makeup in the morning, because there is so much beauty to be seen without it.

I hope you forgive your best friend, because she’s going to be the one hugging you goodbye when you both leave for college.

I hope you don’t post about your lame boyfriend on Facebook, because you’ll look back and cringe in a few years, I guarantee it. He doesn’t count as a real boyfriend until you’re at least 16 anyway.

I hope you never hold back from standing up for what you believe in.

I hope you write in a diary instead of all over the internet, because when you dig that baby up a few years later, you’ll have some noteworthy moments to look back on.

I hope you don’t look to the influence of society for guidance.

I hope you turn down the invitation to the drinking party this weekend that everyone is talking about, because I promise it really won’t be as exciting as the seniors say it will be.

I hope you don’t tell your boyfriend of two weeks that you “love him,” because chances are, there will be one hell of a guy waiting for you a few years down the road who will show you what love really means.

I hope you apologize for that horrible comment you said to your parents, because they love you more than you know right now.

I hope you look in the mirror every day and see something that is amazing and worthy of greatness.

I hope, when you experience your first heartbreak, instead of absolutely hating that boy and speaking negatively of him for the rest of eternity, that you thank him for teaching you something. If you liked him enough to date him, say “thank you” for the things that he did for you while you two were together. Tell that boy who broke your heart that he was a great stepping stone toward your future life partner.

I hope you do your homework and take pride in your intelligence.

I hope you make the choice to surround yourself with people who will encourage, motivate, and lift you up instead of trying to fit in with the “popular kids.”

I hope you don’t spend hours scrolling through social media idolizing celebrities who will never be able to relate to you.

I hope you always choose your words carefully, especially when speaking to other girls. I know it’s easy to get jealous, but don’t you dare put down another female for being thin or thick or tall or short or whatever; we all know how hard it is to be a girl so instead of putting other girls down, I hope you choose to rise up and join the army of estrogen. How bad ass does that sound?

I hope you delete that sassy status on Facebook about how “you’re hot stuff and nobody can mess with you,” because you will be more respected for being humble than trying to be invincible.

I hope you visit your grandparents, not because your mom and dad forced you or because you want to take a selfie with Grandma for some likes on Instagram, but because they have incredibly vivid and beautiful souls and they usually offer the best advice.

I hope you never let a boy call you “sexy,” and if he does, tell him to take a hike. There are so many other words to describe the incredible qualities that make up YOU.

I hope you are kind to everyone you meet, because the way you act and portray yourself today will carry over to how people perceive you from now on.

I hope you embrace your passions and keep them close to your heart, because they’ll be the perfect outlet for stress and they might make a good career one day.

I hope you don’t try to act older than you are, there’s plenty of time for that when you’re actually old.

I hope you know that no matter how much your boyfriend says he “loves you,” no boy will ever love you more than your daddy does. If your dad isn’t around, that’s okay too. The big man upstairs loves you just the same.

I hope you never give in to pressure from anyone, because it’ll feel a lot better to be proud of saying no than to regret saying yes.

I hope you choose not to share your innocent body and mind with a boy who won’t care about you five years from now.

I hope you don’t spend your money on things that don’t matter. Spend that hard-earned cash from your first job on life experiences, because pictures from a zipline adventure will look a lot cooler on your Snapchat story than a mocha frappuccino.

I hope you understand that life doesn’t suck if you focus on the things that are truly important to you.

Dear beautiful girl, I believe in you. Time has changed since I was your age and standards shift for every new generation, but there are some things you must always remember, regardless of how old you are. Never look to others for acceptance because what’s important is that you accept yourself. Do what makes you happy…but if those things are illegal or harmful, it’s time to do what will make you successful. Be humble, be intelligent, be kind…because people will respect you for it and good karma might be a real thing. Remember where you come from, thank the people who serve you in any way, write down your goals, and take one step every day toward achieving them.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

Love, Jessica

A 19 year-old young adult who is learning to be independent, courageous, and passionate…who used to be just like you.

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246 thoughts on “To Today’s 14 Year-Old Girls

  1. Thank you for reaching out to the girls Jessica. My daughter was tagged in this post on Facebook so I had to check it out. She is 14 and sometimes I have a hard time figuring her out. I am grateful for young women like you look out for those who are coming up after.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This legitimately just changed my life! I am sixteen years old and have been so confused lately. Thank you so much for your kind and understanding words. You are a blessing!

    Like

  3. From an old Memaw. You go girl. Your parents and grandparents are so proud of you. I would hope every 14 year old could read what you said.

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    • Read your post with heartfelt tears. Hope all my grandkids get to read your story and it can help with their life perspective. Thank you!

      Like

  4. Dear Jessica,
    I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this! I teach at a high school and this hit home with me in so many ways. Yes, you are wise beyond your years. I would venture to say you probably had some pretty good role models (parents) to guide you. You write so beautifully and your words are so touching. I have two preteen daughters myself. I can only hope they learn these life lessons that some learn so much later in life or sadly, never. Thank you for sharing!!
    Mrs. C

    Like

  5. Wow Jessica this was soooo good and I can’t wait to share with my daughter. Thank you for sharing and for providing a dialogue for parents, grandparents, aunts, and mentors.

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  6. I’m sure you’re parents are very proud of you. My daughter is 12 and I will definitely save this for her and take a special moment to discuss it with her. God bless

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  7. I think this is a great article! However I think it should be titled “To Today’s 12 Year-Old Girls”. I’m a teacher and work with this age of girls every day. By 8th/9th grade today, they are beyond this point. In my opinion, it would better relate to 12 or 13 year olds. Just my opinion 🙂

    Like

  8. Hi. My wife and I are foster parents in Kansas City and have felt called to work with teen girls.
    We currently have 3 teen girls, 13, 15, and 17 and they are all boy crazy. I don’t have kids of my own and married later than some (41) but being a dad to these girls is something I’m passionate about. The boy radar is on and it’s amazing just how much drama girls allow when it comes to boys. Many don’t have dads in their life or their dads committed abuse against them. My hope is to show them what a proper father/daughter relationship can be like. I really liked what you had say. I am sharing this with my girls.

    I’m also a blogger and write about my experiences as a step and foster father. http://www.dadsunite.weebly.com

    God bless you in your young life. Keep up the great work. You are an amazing example and inspiration to girls through our world.

    Like

    • Hi Michael! I’m happy you are sharing this with your own girls! They are lucky to have your love and care. You are a phenomenal example for dads everywhere!! I will be checking out your blog, thanks so much for your positive feedback. I appreciate it! God bless.

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  9. Thank you!!! Ur words are so nice to hear instead of the other junk that’s always shared!
    My daughter will be 14 in a year & a 1/2. I’m going to print this off for her on that Birthday & place it in her card.
    God Bless you & again Thank you!

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  10. I’m 19 also and you hit the nail on the head girl. Every single word you wrote i agree with and i can relate to. This is awesome, thank you for taking me back to my 14 year old days and making me realize how blessed I am now

    Like

  11. Jessica,

    Your message applies to women of any age who are struggling on a day to day basis with who they are. As women we sometimes give up ourselves to try and please our partners, spouses, children, and friends. It’s important that future generations of women learn to be strong, independent, and rely on themselves….for if they aren’t happy with themselves, how can they make a positive impact on the world? Thank you for sharing your thoughts! God has an amazing plan for you!

    Like

  12. Thank you Jessica so much for this! I have a 14 yr old & 13 yr old who definitely need to read this. I can’t wait to share this with them. May God continue to use you to be an inspiration to others & bless you amencely.

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  13. Well done Jess! Looking back (44 some years) much of this could also apply to 14 year old boys. It’s probably the most difficult time in life and your advice is insightful and shows that your parents raised you well.

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  14. My daughter is 16, and we don’t (can’t) talk much these days. You’ve written so eloquently everything that I want her to learn. She’s mastered much of it (probably the reasons that we don’t have a great dialogue these days), but still has much to learn. She’s wise beyond her years, as you are. Did you have a terrible attitude and smart mouth too??? If so your mother is my hero, and there’s hope for us all!! All kidding aside, great job!!

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    • Hi Randi! Thanks so much for reading! I definitely was sassy at 16, I thought I knew everything! Boy, was I wrong..moving away to college taught me a lot, especially respect and appreciation for my parents. THERE IS HOPE! Hahaha she’s lucky to have a mom like you who genuinely cares about her and her future, even if you two aren’t able to talk much! Thanks again!

      Like

  15. I’m a 12 year old girl,
    Thank you so much, this was beautifully eye opening and you couldn’t have worded it better. I hope to be half as amazing as you are when I’m your age:) thank you.

    Like

  16. Thank you for sharing this wonderful advice. I have a 14 year-old daughter and you can bet she is being tagged in this and encouraged to read it entirely!

    Like

  17. Jessica, this article brought me to tears. You are an inspiration. It is hard to believe you are only 19. The words you have written are so true and enlightening for even myself as a 31 year old. I recently became a mother and I will be saving this article and saving it to have her read when she is older. May God Bless You each and every day!!

    Like

  18. My daughter will be 14 in 3 months, and she is suffering from her first heartbreak, as her boyfriend of almost 2 years broke up with her recently. I’m going to share this with her in the hopes that your excellent advice regarding boys will resonate with her at least a little.

    Like

  19. Wow Jessica this is absolutely AMAZING I’m a 13 year old girl right now and this is just what I needed . There’s so many people now in days who are growing up tooooooo fastttt. By now my friends have gone by 2 or 3 boyfriends already and who don’t understand the meaning of true love or who just need a glimpse of hope in their life’s and of course there’s me that hasn’t had one yet but is enjoying life without one cause I don’t need one .Thank you so much for this I have showed this to my friends when they need it the most. This is beautiful they said thank you for writing this and keep on doing what you’re doing and keep on writing great things.

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  20. Pingback: And The Liebster Award Goes To… | Jessica Hammer

  21. Thank you Jessica. I am a 12 year old girl, by this helped me realize who I truly am inside. You rock! Thanks for letting me see that I have to be who I am.

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  22. That was awesome! Now, can we find the male side of this to share with my teenage son? LoL. Seriously, great work. Will be sharing with the teenage girls I adore…

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  23. Jessica, thank you for sharing and taking your time to write this. Your very pretty and … I go to a school full of nothing but stuck up drama filled haters who need alott of encouragement ! On Tuesday my teacher will be reading this to our class … I hope other preteens and teenagers get what I did out of this…you seriously opend my eyes more than anything has & that’s coming from someone whos been depressed since they were 8 , been arrested and everything else all at or before the age of 12..I’m 13 now and done just about everything which is sad and sickening and what you said is 150+ percent true your an amazing person …keep your head up and thank you once again (:

    Like

  24. My daughter will be 14 in less than a month. I will be sharing this with her and I hope that she gets what your saying. And that she learns from it. Thank you!

    Like

  25. My dad showed me this, and lately I have been going through struggles trying to be someone I am not, and to fit in. I have made some bad choices, that i highly regret. And I remember bookmarking this letter when I was first introduced to your blog. I saw this on my book mark bar and clicked it. I am now reminded that I don’t have to be anyone else to fit in. And that I should start sticking up for myself, and be prouder of my myself. Thank you for taking the time to write this thought out letter, because you’ve impacted my life and I hope it impacts many others similar to me. Thank you again, and by the way, you are sooo gorgeous!!

    Like

  26. I totaly agree with you.
    I love the part that you shouldn’t act older than your age, please enjoy being young and act like it because you will never experince what it’s like to be older intill you are!
    Love being young and careless because it will be over before you know.

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  27. I’m not sure how long ago this was written, but I will comment anyway because I want you to know that this whole post is AWESOME! I am fourteen right now and every single one of those posts I can agree with.. I really hope that I am this wise and inspirational when I get to your age. I have just started a blog about my outlooks on life as a teen and I realised that this post is very similar to one of my own that I wrote a while ago!

    https://siennakblog.wordpress.com

    I found this post accidentally but I am very glad that I did! I will keep all your comments in mind as I journey through high school. Thanks for your words of wisdom!
    Sienna

    Like

  28. Thank you for sharing this. I am 14 and it’s just so hard to stay confident and feel beautiful in today’s world, but this beautful text just brought hope to me. It’s literally night and I’m reading this and crying.

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  29. Very well said, young lady! I wish I had this much wisdom at your age. There’s so much truth to what you said, and you are so blessed to understand these things already. I love that you took the time to reach out to the young girls, struggling to feel their way through life. This is some excellent advice, and I hope it touches many young women’s lives. I know I wish I had read some advice like this as a young person. I wish you well in your future.

    Like

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